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Our Heros: Employee Heroes

As part of HomeBridge’s celebrations to mark 30 years of service to youth and families all employees who have been with the organization for 15 years or more where honored.  That day, the group was the “Twinkles” within the organization because the twinkle in their eye, reflecting their wisdom and spirit of caring. 

“They have a twinkle in their eyes.  Dr. Al Trieschman (youth care advocate and professional) once said “the youth becomes a twinkle in your eyes and you in his. . .They (good workers) understand that relationships are not formed instantly, and we have to ‘do time’ (often long and hard time) in the ‘kid’s space’ before either of us see the ‘twinkle’.” Ernie Nightingale 2003

The group of 27 employees collectively brings 491 years of experience to HomeBridge and includes management, youth care and administrative employees.

HomeBridge continues to be a progressive organization, always growing and improving and we are sure that the next 30 years, and the people we meet as colleagues and clients will be just as inspiring.


We would like to dedicate this section of our website to the heroes within our community.

“Not the glittering weapon fights the fight, but rather the hero’s heart”
- Bob Dylan-

“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for all to see by”
- Felix Adler-

The heroes honored in this section start each day with a hero’s heart and light the way for all to see through their leadership. It is HomeBridge’s privilege to work beside our dedicated employees, donors, volunteers, and community partners. We are inspired each day by the resiliency reflected in the youth living throughout our facilities and their talent within.

Employee Heroes

Val Blair
Former HomeBridge Youth Care Worker

Val Blair worked for HomeBridge Youth Society for 13 years, and recently moved on to a new challenge in the field of dietetics. Val worked at Sullivan House, Johnson House, Jubien House, and Brenton House throughout her career as a frontline youth care worker.

When asked what originally drew her into the field, Val responded, "An acquaintance of mine thought I would be good at it, so I applied”. Val attributes the ever changing, stimulating and philosophy of the Youth Care profession for keeping her invested for 13 years.

Her greatest learning moment was early in her career when there was a restraint involving a youth, “my only one in 13 years”, said Val. “That moment taught me that I would learn new skills and exhaust every option before I would ever get into a restraint situation again”.

Although there are many teachable and great moments in the Youth Care profession, Val identified her greatest Youth Care moments occurred when a young person took the time to stop by or call, and let you know they appreciated the time you spent with them.

When asked how working at HomeBridge has impacted other areas of her life, Val responded with a big sigh. “As I sit in dietetic classes, specifically ethics, we talk about investing in another person. I draw a lot of my answers from my time with HomeBridge and working with youth. I have learned a deeper level of caring that comes from working the field of Child and Youth Care.”

Val reflected on the direction of HomeBridge and found herself offering these words of wisdom. To new employees, “don’t sweat the small stuff, relationships will build with time”. For senior employees, “remember that someone cares when they take the time and interest to challenge you.” For managers, Val felt that staying connected to the teams was key. “Although we can survive for a while without supervisors consistent presence, it cannot be for an extended period without the team being impacted.”

Val believes that her legacy at HomeBridge is advocacy and teaching self-reliance to the youth she worked with, as well as the Food Committee, which she was a critical part of. Val’s work on this committee ensured healthy menus throughout all of HomeBridge’s six residential facilities.

Val’s final words as she moves on to new challenges are, “keep communication clear, direct and open. Most of all, believe in the work.”

Thank you Val for investing your time and commitment to youth in need for 13 years. We are honored to call you our HomeBridge Employee Hero. All the best as you move forward on your journey.

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